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Council to hold hearing on pawn shops
Monday, April 9, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Martinsville City Council on Tuesday will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the city zoning ordinance pertaining to pawn shops.
Pawn shops now are allowed by right in most commercial and manufacturing zoning districts citywide. It is being proposed that the shops be allowed in all such districts. However, the owners first would have to be granted special use permits by the council.
Among other restrictions in the proposed amendments: A pawn shop could not be located within 1,000 feet of a similar business; must be located at least 1,000 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds; could not open for business before 10 a.m.; and must close by 9 p.m.
The businesses still would have to comply with state regulations.
The ordinance amendments are aimed at averting crimes such as thefts of items that later are pawned. Such crimes have occurred in other places as a result of pawn shops being there, according to some city officials.
Councilman Danny Turner has voiced opposition to the amendments, saying he thinks it would make it harder for pawn shops to open locally and that the city should be welcoming businesses, not driving them away.
Mayor Kim Adkins said Friday, however, that she thinks the changes are “reasonable and make it (the rules) consistent across the city.”
The hearing will be held when the council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in its chambers at the municipal building on West Church Street uptown. Afterward, the council will consider approving the amendments on first reading.
Other items on the council’s agenda include public hearings on a request to abandon an alley in the 800 block of Smith Street and local tax exemption requests submitted by the Piedmont Youth Soccer League, Pregnancy Care Center and The Archaeological Conservancy.
The agenda also includes:
• Presenting a proclamation recognizing Arbor Day 2012.
• Hearing public comments on plans to seek federal funds to buy outdoor emergency warning sirens and an electrical generator for Martinsville Middle School, which has been designated as the city’s emergency shelter.
• Hearing from New College Institute Executive Director William Wampler about the school’s desire to use the Baldwin Block for a new building.
• Considering matters related to taxes and fees paid by merchants at the uptown farmer’s market.
• Hearing a report on the city’s transportation priorities to be included in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Six-Year Improvement Plan.
• Considering setting a public hearing for May 8 on a rezoning request for land at 1150 Spruce St. Dollar General wants to open a store there.
• Making routine-type budget adjustments.
• Hearing business from the floor.
The council will hold a “neighborhood community meeting” at 7:30 p.m. today at Albert Harris Elementary School on Smith Road to hear comments from Westside residents about issues that concern them.
Council members will tour the area by van beginning at 5:30 p.m.